How Is A Hockey Puck Made? [Expert Review!]

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Hockey pucks are hard plastic spherical objects typically used in ice hockey, a sport which is hugely popular worldwide, especially in Canada and the United States. They are similar to basketballs in terms of dimensions and weight, but they are much harder and sturdier. A typical puck will have a diameter of 32 to 34 mm and a mass of around 55 to 60 grams, depending on the brand.

The Material Of Choice

As with most things in life, there is more than one way to make hockey pucks. First off, they can be created using various plastics, including acrylics, ABS, and polycarbonate. They can also be injection-molded or laser-cut from a solid block of plastic. In addition, they often have textured surfaces that make them look like leather or rubber to the touch. Puck makers who use this method will typically use a material that is more elastic than hardened plastic because it stretches more easily when molded or laser-cut. When creating these textures, engineers will often use an array of different texturing machines, including rotary lathes, shaving machines, or sander machines to give the puck a 3D look.

The Raw Material

Although most plastics that are used to make hockey pucks are proudly made in North America, the main source of raw material comes from China. Puck makers will often purchase polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyethylene (PE) material that is recycled from plastic drink bottles. These materials are more affordable and widely available in bulk quantities than ones made from petroleum, which are more expensive.

The Manufacturing Process

Once the raw material arrives in the factory, it will be transported to the production line. In most cases, the process will involve a series of manual operations that will have to be repeated several times until the piece is complete. These operations will include placing the material in a mold, injecting the mold with plastic, and removing the finished product. Puck makers will typically use blow-molding or hand-molding to create their products.

Blow-Molding

Blow-molding is a process where a material, typically plastic, is put in a mold and then a gas is injected into it. The gas expands and forms the plastic into the shape of the mold. This process is used extensively in the industry and allows for mass production of hockey pucks. When blow-molding, the material chosen must be easily moulded and form stable foamed products that do not collapse during or after the operation. A popular material used for this purpose is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) because it is both amorphous and easily moulded. It is also the most widely used plastic in the world. Once the material is placed in the mold, the entire assembly will be vibrated to create a more stable foam. These vibrations can either be done manually by tapping the side of the mold or by using an electromagnetic pulse (EMIT) generator. Other plastics that are also used frequently in this process are polypropylene and polyethylene.

Hand-Molding

Hand-molding is the process of placing material in a mold and then physically shaping it with one’s hands. It can be an intricate and precise operation, but it is also very time consuming. Once the material is in the mold, it will have to be carefully shaped and formed to the exact dimensions and thicknesses of the mold. The operation will have to be repeated until the piece is complete. The advantage of this process is that it can be done with almost any material and it is very versatile. It can be used to create any shape and thickness that one can imagine. The most popular applications of hand-molding are the creation of hockey pucks, baseballs, footballs, and rugby balls.

The final stage of manufacturing will involve taking the product out of the mold and allowing it to cool down. This process can be very time-consuming and in some cases, the entire operation had to be stopped because the product could not be removed from the mold without causing damage. In order to make it easier to remove the product, engineers will sometimes add tools like a hook, claw, or other similar devices to the mold. Once the piece is out of the mold, it will have to be trimmed and packed before shipping to the customer. In some cases, the product will additionally need to be sanitized if it is going to be in contact with food.

Final Takeaway

Depending on your personal preference and what material you are most comfortable with, you can choose between using automated or manual operations to make hockey pucks. In most cases, the entire manufacturing process will involve a series of manual steps that will have to be repeated several times until the product is complete. Once the final product is made, it will need to undergo some type of post-processing, including the application of textures or patterns, before being packed and shipped.

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